3 Face Charges in Email Breach

Monday, March 9, 2015 @ 04:03 PM gHale

Three men are facing charges for their roles in a breach of email service providers in the United States, according to indictments handed up last week.

Viet Quoc Nguyen and Giang Hoang Vu, both of Vietnam who resided for a period of time in the Netherlands, ended up indicted Friday for their role in a massive data breach of email service providers across the United States. In addition, a federal grand jury returned an indictment last week against David-Manuel Santos Da Silva, a citizen of Canada, who is facing charges of conspiring with Nguyen and others to money launder the proceeds of Nguyen’s computer hacking offenses.

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Between February 2009 and June 2012, Viet Quoc Nguyen is facing charges of hacking into at least eight email service providers (ESPs) across the United States, and stealing confidential information, including proprietary marketing data containing over one billion email addresses, said Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn.

Email service providers are companies that generally offer legitimate email marketing or bulk email services to their clients. Clients hire ESPs to assist with sending bulk emails to customers or potential customers who have opted to receive such emails.

Nguyen hacked into the ESPs’ computer databases and, in conjunction with Vu, used his unauthorized access to launch spam attacks on tens of millions of email recipients, officials said. The indictment said Nguyen used phishing emails laden with malware directed at employees of the ESPs to gain unauthorized access into the ESPs’ computer databases.

Vu, 25, ended up arrested by Dutch law enforcement in Deventer, Netherlands, in 2012 and extradited to the United States. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and will undergo sentencing April 21, 2015.

Viet Quoc Nguyen is not in custody and remains a fugitive.

On Wednesday, David-Manuel Santos Da Silva, 33, of Montreal, Canada, is facing charges after his indictment by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to commit money laundering with Nguyen and others. Police arrested Da Silva last month at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, in Florida.

Da Silva, the co-owner, president and a director of 21 Celsius, Inc., a Canadian corporation that ran Marketbay.com, entered into an affiliate marketing arrangement with Nguyen that allowed him to generate revenue from his computer hacks, officials said.

Da Silva knew that Nguyen was spamming to stolen email addresses in order to direct high volumes of Internet traffic to his affiliate marketing websites with Marketbay.com, officials said. Da Silva also conspired with Nguyen and others to promote Nguyen’s hacking and spamming activities by providing him with a platform, through Marketbay.com, to generate sales commission from his computer hacks into the ESPs, officials said. Between May 2009 and October 2011, Nguyen and Da Silva received approximately $2 million for the sale of products derived from Nguyen’s affiliate marketing activities.

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